About Men’s Groups
About Catholic Men's Fellowship Groups
There are regular monthly meetings of Men's Groups throughout the Diocese. Below are links to find out more about them. If your parish has a Men's Group and is not in the Directory, please Contact Us to get it on the list.
PARISH-BASED MENS FAITH, SHARING & FELLOWSHIP GROUPS
The heart of the Catholic Mens Fellowship program rests with the parish level Mens Faith, Sharing and Fellowship groups. These groups are based on and grounded in Holy Scripture.
Men are encouraged to form groups of four to ten men and meet weekly, biweekly or monthly for approximately ninety minutes (preference is weekly or biweekly). At these gatherings they discuss their lives in the light of their Catholic faith and life experiences through friendship, prayer and fraternity. Some mens groups include men from neighboring parishes and men who are not catholic.
Men participating in parish Faith, Sharing and Fellowship groups form a community cultivating deep friendships among their fellow parishioners, have fun, and learn from one another how to be a better husband, father, son, employee, Christian man and Catholic parishioner. Spiritual growth and accountability become factors as they get to know each other. Often certain members of the group who are quiet or troubled and seldom participate in Church activities will come out of the shell as friendships grow. Men are awakened to the needs of the church and are encouraged to offer their talents and gifts.
Typically a meeting begins with prayer or song. Scripture passages are read which support the discussion theme. Men are challenged (through the guidebooks) to adopt an action point for the coming week or two. Meetings close with prayer. Some groups include a social time with refreshments to encourage fellowship.
Most Mens groups meet in parish meeting rooms, homes or restaurants. Groups set their own times and agendas with little or no commitment of time from clergy and parish staff. Some parishes have two or more different groups functioning.
Parish level Mens Faith, Sharing & Fellowship groups represent an excellent, on going method of growing the spirituality of participants and strengthening parish life. They create a spiritual foundation from which men can step out and participate and/or lead or become involved in other parish service groups.
Men's Fellowship "Answer the Call" has been very uplifting for me personally. I have received much more than I have given. I look forward to sharing my love for Christ through and with our men in our Men's Group at St. Hilary.J.M.J. Gerry Faust - Former Head Football Coach of Notre Dame & University of Akron
Prior to Promise Keepers I was a world class mechanical Catholic. I went through the motions every Sunday of going to Mass, no prayer life, no spiritual life and no need for any of the above. My job & having fun were my gods and I worshipped them well. PK was a time of discovery but it lacked the Mass and other Catholic theology. Then came "Answer the Call"! Enter a vibrant spiritual life filled with direction, confidence, prayer, excitement, many new friends, purpose, the support of my small men's group and most of all Jesus Christ. You gotta love it! Bob D'Aurelio - St. Helen's Parish in Newbury, OH
I love to go to our Answer The Call Men's Group because I like to socialize with Good, Christian men. I get a feeling of comfort with God in my life and another daily mass as well as the learning of our faith more deeply. I enjoy the discussion of how God worked in our lives that particular week. Jerry Petit - Member of St. Sebastian Parish & lifelong Catholic. He is known as "Coffee Man" because he makes the eye opening beverage prior to monthly Men's Group Meetings.
Through Catholic Men's Fellowship I have been provided with examples and inspiration from other men who live admirably, spiritual lives in today's upside down world. The fellowship led me to a path which returned me to the sacraments and a richer, fuller, happier life. TRY IT-YOU'LL LOVE IT! Michael Lowrey - Dedicated family man, lifelong Catholic, President of Fiserv Cleveland, and is a parishioner of St. Paschal Baylon.
Our pastor has been overwhelmed by the crushing workload of running a parish, as is most pastors in our church today. Introducing anything new was impossible. Then came CMF and the endorsement of Bishop Pilla. Through the direction and guidelines of CMFNEO, and use of the workbook "Signposts", we have been able to develop faith groups of men who share their walk and develop a deeper personal relationship with God. This organization is a testimony to the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Hank Richard - Hank is involved in full time ministry and lives his life as a professed Christian man. In addition to many other organizations, he works diligently in the area of interdenominational pastor fellowship, Vibrant Parish Life, Christian Businessmen's Association, and is the Promise Keeper Task Force Director of Summit County. Hank has dedicated his life to spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ to all he can touch and is a parishioner of St. Paul Church in Akron.
How do I join? First, look into your home parish. There may already be a group in place. Check our Directory to see if your parish is represented. If not, ask your Pastor or Associate Pastor. If no group is at your parish, it is a fine opportunity to have your desires and needs be known to the Pastor.
Pick a group that meets near your home and is convenient. After going to a few meetings, you may want to encourage others from your Parish to attend. Once a critical mass of men from your parish see the need for a local group, we will help you to start a group.
How do I find a group to join if I am not in the Diocese?
There are many Catholic Men's Fellowships (CMF) throughout the U.S. If there is one located near your home we recommend going to their website (also provided) for instructions, or contact the CMF leader(s) for assistance. If there is not a CMF in your area and you are not aware of any existing men's faith groups, we encourage you to seek other men who share your faith and who have some common interests. They may be fellow parishioners, coworkers, or neighbors. Begin meeting together on a regular basis. We recommend starting with the resource, Signposts, How To Be a Catholic Man in the World Today. This and other resources for men's faith groups can be found on our Recommended Books web page.
You'll be surprised at what God will do through a small group of men who love him and one another.
I urge you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship. Do not conform yourself to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect. (Romans 12:1-2)
Still on the fence about joining? Read on....
Most men who have attended a men's faith group quickly discover the benefits they offer. Men participating in such groups cultivate friendships among their fellow parishioners, have fun, and learn from one another how to be a better husband, father, son, employee, Christian man, and Catholic parishioner. Many men say they have grown by this experience, which has helped them to form stronger and happier families and to cope better with the stresses they encounter at work. Another reason for belonging to a small group of men is that the men in the group can support each other in their quest for living a Christian life (Proverbs 27:17).
It is confusing to be a man today, particularly a Christian man. There is a natural tension between the stereotypical male-the one many of us were taught to be, the male of the media-and the male that God calls men to be. Men are expected to play a variety of roles and to know how to bounce from one role to the other as the wind blows. The man of today is expected to be protective and hard working on the one hand, and gentle and supportive on the other. What is a man to do?
To further complicate matters, many sincere men are trying to reclaim aspects of their lives that in the past have been abdicated: spiritual leadership of the family; the ability to express love and emotion; and relationships with other men that don't have to flow from a mutual love for sports, work, or other "men stuff."
Just imagine what God can do with a group of men who will follow the Lord Jesus and take the risk of laying down their lives for one another in healthy Christian relationships.
There are several approaches to starting a Mens Faith, Sharing and Fellowship group in the parish. Some parishes hold a monthly event where speakers are invited. This may occur on Saturday morning after Mass. A light breakfast is served. After the speakers presentation men break into small groups for forty-five minutes or so to discuss the issues and topic of the day.
Some groups meet weekly or biweekly using guidebooks to stimulate conversation and active participation.
One of the best approaches to starting a group(s) involves a team from the parish attending the annual Catholic Mens Fellowship Conference, ANSWER THE CALL. Here they experience the dynamics of the large gathering with powerful speakers, testimonies, etc. It is recommended that pastors select a group of men and ask them to attend the conference. Usually this core group will start a Mens Faith Sharing group and spread the word within the parish.
Parishes may not want to wait for the conference to establish a small group. The Catholic Mens Fellowship of Northeast Ohio periodically conducts meetings in various locations throughout the diocese to help parishes establish small groups. Contact the Catholic Mens Fellowship for information and assistance.
Clergy involvement in parish Mens Faith, Sharing and Fellowship groups is minimal. Usually they encourage start up in the parish by occasionally endorsing the program publicly especially in the early stages of development. Groups function on their own.
There may or not be a chaplain that would participate with the men. However, if this can be done, it will add to the walk of faith for all concerned.
The Catholic Mens Fellowship of Northeast Ohio encourages members of the clergy to attend the annual conference with their men. Priests are asked to hear confessions during the noon hour at the conference and to participate in the Mass (along with deacons) at the end of the day. It is an excellent opportunity to fellowship with the men of the parish.